My journey down to Koh Phan Ngan was a bit longer than expected, although I should know by now that this is always the case, with numerous stops at cafes, riverside waiting areas and docking areas I finally boarded my boat out towards the islands. Having done no research into where to go, all’s I had to go off was a loosely detailed paper map given to me with my boat ticket and the knowledge that I needed to head towards Haad Rin beach. Having assumed I departed the ferry where I needed to be in Haad Rin I declined all tuktuks and vowed to find the hostel alone on foot. Twenty minutes later, sweating, annoyed with my increasingly heavy backpack and with how much wandering around lost in the baking heat I had done, I sat on the side of the road rethought my plan. I eventually flagged down a tuktuk and found out I was actually on the opposite side of the island and got largely laughed at when I asked if It was possible to walk there. Admitting defeat I jumped on and made my way towards the hostel, Jaya Hostel, which was my messy little home for the next six nights.
Once at my hostel I found out I was the only guest there that night, as I had eagerly arrived a few to many nights before the Full Moon Party, taking pity on my situation I was placed into a smaller room, and not the 20 bed dorm I had originally booked. Here I spent the first night watching a thunderstorm, pampering myself before the mayhem begun and avoiding the snappy little dogs that lived in the hostel.
My first full day on the island was spent trying to arrange money, I had been using Western Union since Vietnam to retrieve my money, however because I had exceeded my limit of transfers I needed to reconfirm my identity again, which would take several days to clear…meaning I was left with just 80 baht to my name, (less than £2). Fortunately for me, I met Tom, an English lad from Huddersfield, who after knowing me for half an hour was my new best mate and passing over his bank details and helping me to transfer some money into his bank account. I was then introduced to his friend Rob, who combined with Tom was a great duo to be friends with, and both made my time on the Thai islands some of the funniest weeks ever.
Our first night was spent watching a typical tourist attraction on the islands…the ever dangerous fire shows, watching as Tom and Rob spat fire and fell backwards off their chairs after to many lethal buckets…a warm up for the nights to come. To add to the group, the next morning I was reunited with Lauren and Lucie, who had finally decided to leave Sinoukville and come to Thailand. It was Lucies birthday, and after moving into their dorm we spent the day doing Lucies favourite activity…sunbathing on the beach. Lucie and Lauren were somehow even darker shades of tan whereas I was verging more on the pale beige colour chart. Our day was full of smoothies, shotguns and strawpedos, finishing with a meal and birthday ice-cream at our new favourite restaurant, Maddies. Rob declared himself the Dragon, which meant we all now needed nicknames, including including Matt Damon, Jerome and Shanequia. The evening meant it was time for ring of fire and our first proper night out, where we needed to catch the apparent Thai Mafia ran boat from Haad Rin beach to Eden, a club not so well known on a separate part of the island, only accessible by boat, rock-climbing and a shakily made bamboo bridge, in the dark. The night was a memorable one, of which I only remember small parts, barefoot and dancing on the makeshift club hanging over the ocean until the sun was rising, followed by a sneaky disco nap in a hammock for me. Our friend Charlotte, who we met in Saigon was with us and after deciding to leave Eden and assuring Rob/Dragon that we didn’t need help getting back to the hostel, Charlotte stepped onto and fell through the shaky bamboo bridge! The bridge is over ocean and rocks and she was bloody lucky to not go all the way through, on the plus side it earned her the truly deserved nickname ‘Bridge Bitch’ for the rest of our time together.
Of course, our time in Koh Phan Ngan was all cantered around the world famous full moon party, which was in a league of its own…and required its own blog post…